Saturday, August 10, 2013

Are You In The Mood For Chocolate?

Browse through my blog a little bit, or check out my labels (toppings) over to the right and you'll find 20 chocolate cakes, 50 blog entries that include chocolate, 8 brownie recipes, and even a picture of me trying to eat a giant 11 pound slab of chocolate

I love chocolate. Everytime I open my cupboard to grab a teaspoon of baking soda or baking powder, I'm always tempted to add cocoa powder. It doesn't matter what I'm making, baking, or cooking, I want to add chocolate. 


These tasty cupcakes fulfill that chocolate craving. Starting with a creamy chocolate cheesecake base layer, they round out with a fluffy chocolate cake, and are topped with a thick, luscious chocolate frosting. 

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes
These are a gift. 


Chocolate Cheesecake
16 oz cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup cocoa powder
3 eggs
Whip all ingredients together until smooth and creamy

Spoon 2-3 tablespoons into cupcake liners 
Bake at F300° for 10-12 minutes or until barely set
While cooking, prepare chocolate cake
When done, remove from oven and increase temp to F350°


Chocolate Cake
4 eggs
1 ½ cups sugar
¼ + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
Beat well until creamy

Add
1 cup flour
½ sour cream
¾ cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
Stir just until ingredients are incorporated

Add
1 cup melted butter
Whip until smooth

Add
1 cup flour
½ cup sour cream
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
Stir just until ingredients are incorporated

Pour over baked cheesecake and place back in oven
Bake for additional 15-20 minutes or until cake springs back to the touch
Remove from cupcake tins and cool on wire rack

Chocolate Frosting
+/- 2 cups powdered sugar
½ cup cocoa powder

3 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate
½ cup butter
½ cup milk

Pipe large swirls over domed cupcakes
Sprinkle with chocolate jimmies or chocolate chips

Yields 36-42 cupcakes


More triple chocolate cake: Comatose Cake
2 years ago: The Three B's, Banana Butterscotch Bundt Cake
3 years ago: Stand by Me, S'more Macarons
4 years ago: Rain or Shine, Campfire Cookies


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Almost Never A Disapointment

The reason I am so belated in writing about Disney World is because it's so hard to come home! Reminiscing and browsing through our pictures just makes me all the more excited and geared back up to go! We started planning this years trip more than six months in advance to ensure reservations at the newly opened 'Be Our Guest' (honestly the biggest reason we visit Disney World is for the food)! We are now just shy of a 12 week wait until our trip!

Because three months is barely bearable, I'm ready to share with you our three most memorable dining experiences from our 2012 trip to Disney World. (Looking through these pictures, and seeing how little my babies were, makes me realize how long ago it really was!)


As part of the Mexico Pavilion in Epcot you have the opportunity to enter the ancient Aztec Temple of Quetzalcoatl and take the Gran Fiesta Boat Tour guided by the Three Caballeros Donald Duck, Panchito Pistoles, and José Carioca. This upbeat, humorous log ride is a fun way to start your trip in Mexico, and the lines are always short. The best part about it is that while on your Boat Tour you get a perfect, tantalizing view of the San Angel Inn Restaurante.


Mexico is a unique pavilion with a number of dining choices, but we've always been drawn to San Angel Inn Restaurante because of the atmosphere, background and mood. (It's very reminiscent of the Blue Bayou restaurant inside New Orleans Square, part of Adventure Land in Disneyland Park.) The restaurant is within the temple, behind the attractions, the vendors and shopping, the museum and the small historical models and tours, and is covered by a romantic, starry night sky and encircled by a river with a volcano in the distance.


San Angel Inn Restaurante
Walt Disney World Epcot Theme Park
World Showcase & Mexico Pavillion
Disney World, Florida
(407) 939-3463
Online Reservations

Our server, Juanito, at San Angel Inn Restaurante was quite literally, of any restaurant I've ever dined at, incomparable. Attentive but not crowding, intuitive without smothering, in fact if I didn't know better I would have thought he was our personal butler. The minute we took the last sip of our drinks, he showed up magically to refill them. He recommended foods that fit our personal tastes, and he was so patient with our over-tired babies who got a little bit of spice on their tongues.

This was our favorite restaurant of the trip, not just because of Juanito, or the ambiance, but because of the heavenly food!

We opted for the Traditional Mexican Dinner which included a full three course dinner. For appetizers we enjoyed Tostadas de Tinga; tortilla chips covered in chicken, chipotle, beans and sauces. For our entrées we devoured the Fish Tacos; flour tortillas stuffed with fish, cabbage and the most succulent spices including chipotle-lime aioli and green tomatillo sauce; and for dessert we dined on Crema Bavaria; a mousse topped with fresh berries and cinnamon.


Kona Cafe
Disney's Polynesian Resort
Disney World, Florida
(407) 824-2000 (not for reservations)
Online Reservations


The Polynesian Resort is incredible, to say the least. One can only expect the same from any restaurant housed within the perimeter. The Kona Cafe did not disappoint, though visually it's quite unassuming. The meal began with a complimentary loaf of Macadamia Nut Bread and if you have any question as to how delicious this bread was, just know that I felt compelled to take pictures of my entire family eating it.


The fabulous meal only began with the bread, though I would have been satisfied without anything additional. We ordered the children a plate of Mickey Ravioli which was simple and enjoyable.


Gabriel enjoyed the Togarashi Spiced Ahi Tuna which was accompanied with a tempura fried vegetable maki roll. It was amazing. It was cooked to perfection with a perfect sear and tenderness.


I dined on the Teriyaki Style New York Strip Steak with pineapple teriyaki glaze (I can't turn down anything cooked with pineapple). It was as good as steak can be with a slight crunch to the exterior, and both delicate and sweet meat.


My only complaint of the entire experience was that as we were winding down our meal, our server took away our remaining half loaf of Macadamia Nut Bread without even asking. I had intended to finish it, take it back to our hotel, or simply keep it in my possession, but she snatched it away so quickly I couldn't even protest. It's nearly a year later, and I'm still upset about it...


I'm torn over Hollywood Studios. Half the time I tell myself I'm never going back until our children are older and beg us to go there. The other half of the time I tell myself I don't want to miss any of the parks during our annual visit, and surely there is something there I'm missing. Yet every time we go I think it's a dud. There are a few worthwhile attractions, but they are sparse, and I've yet to encounter any food that isn't wholly terrible, except for some ice cream near Tower of Terror. They've opened up a few new things there since our last visit, and to be fair, I'm looking at the attractions on the Disney website and there are several things that I don't think we've ever experienced.

One thing I can say with absolute confidence, and it's something that is worth repeating: the food is horrendous. Do any Google search for 'Disney World Hollywood Studios Food' and you'll get the same results.

Sci-Fi Theater and Dine-In Restaurant 
Hollywood Studios
Disney World, Florida
(407) 939-3463
Online Reservations


We originally made reservations at the 50's Prime Time Cafe, but we were ready to leave the park, and starving to boot, but our reservation wasn't for another 2 hours so we popped into the Sci-Fi Theater to see if they had availability. Afterwards, when we stopped into the 50's Cafe to cancel our reservation on the way out of the park it did look rather inciting. The hostesses were asking everyone why they were late, telling them how hard Mom had been working on dinner, and the furniture and settings looked directly out of the 1950's. We will likely try to eat there for the 3rd time at some point (on our first visit to Disney World we accidentally booked a reservation at Hollywood and Vine, thinking it was the 50's Cafe, and it was also terrible).


The novelty of the Sci-Fi Theater Restaurant can't be beat. Aliens plastered all over the walls, a very cheesy futuristic decor, and seating behind the hood and dashboard of a car facing a giant movie screen. One of the allures of this restaurant is that you can watch old Sci-Fi movies while you eat. This is simply not true. They play five or six different clips of movies (more like commercials or promos than actual clips) that are on a running loop, over and over and over again. It's extremely dark, the wait for your food is exhausting, and the food is just plain inedible.

Yes, the shakes are good. But seriously? It's nearly impossible to go wrong with ice cream.

1 Year Ago: The Happiest Food on Earth, 2011 Disney World Dining Reviews
3 Years Ago: Hold Music, Boulangerie Patisserie Review
3 Years Ago: Raise A Toast, Biergarten Review

Friday, May 17, 2013

Crossing Over

I think you've crossed over into obsession once you start creating recipes for the frosting you want to use. Though, this isn't exactly frosting as much as it's an amazing concoction disguised as an overload of sugar. 


All types of sneaky fingers will find their way into this mixture. 

Originally, this idea gave birth to a simple cookie pizza: Chocolate chip cookie crust, peanut butter chocolate frosting and the grand poohbah of them all... - candy bar crumbles. 

That morphed into cupcakes: Chocolate chip vanilla batter, peanut butter chocolate frosting and the grand poohbah of them all... - candy bar crumbles. 

Now, we have:

Candy Bar Brownies


Chocolate chocolate chip brownie batter, peanut butter chocolate frosting and the grand poohbah of them all... - candy bar crumbles. 


A pretty simple idea that has given birth to total decadent domination over the world's 3 basic desserts - cookies, cupcakes and brownies. Check. 


I found a fab scratch brownie recipe because I was making these for Gabriel's producer at work and couldn't go with a box mix. My changes are listed here.  

1 ½ cups flour
3 cups sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1-2 cups chocolate chips 
Sift together and whisk until well combined

Make a well in the center and add:
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 ¼ cups melted butter
Stir just until batter comes together

Pour into a greased 9 x 13 casserole pan
Bake at F325° for 45 minutes, reduce temperature to F275° and cook an additional 30 minutes or until done

While still warm, frost with peanut butter chocolate sauce and chopped candy bars. Allow to cool completely before cutting and serving. 


1 year ago: Little Mother, Apple Spice Cake
2 years ago: Free Soda & Snacks, Mt. Dew Cupcakes
3 years ago: Failed Fusion, Chocolate Carrot Cake
4 years ago: Happy Birthday Alex!, Comatose Cake

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